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Susan Varnot

Matisse: Seated Pink Nude

Such beauty when the flesh is lost

          and the face stirs

around itself, a bowl’s rim without features:

          no eyes no nose no mouth pearling

into speech or a kiss,

          no look fixed to a window

or to the rain flashing like pins,

          the body dissolving into white

with its hint of absence, the nothing

          inside the box, the air inside a vase.

Such beauty when the flesh becomes

          indefinite, the way the wind

stirs a field, grasses blurring,

          and erases the exact

lines in which form sleeps.


Susan Varnot’s poems have appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cimarron Review, Harpur Palate, Nimrod, and Southern Poetry Review, among other journals.  She lives in California, where she teaches at UC Merced.  

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